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Where To Euthanize a Dog For Free: 5 Ideas + Low-Cost Euthanasia

Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon.

Making the decision to euthanize your beloved dog is incredibly hard without any additional burden.

However, the financial side of euthanizing a pet is not to be neglected.

While not everybody can afford at-home euthanasia, a private cremation, and a fancy urn, we should definitely all try our best to make our pets’ end of life as comfortable as possible.

Before you consider euthanasia at all, please do make sure it’s absolutely necessary and not just due to behavior, old age, or simply personal reasons (space, time, money).

This option should only be considered after a vet has made sure the quality of life for that dog has dropped below an acceptable level.

If you’re tight on money and want to save on euthanasia, that’s okay but please make sure the certified vet is only using approved methods and solutions for a pain-free passing.

Never skimp just to get cheap euthanasia where your dog will suffer in his last seconds or even minutes.

Below is a table with real-world pricing for cheaper euthanasia options.

Where To Euthanize a Dog For Free

You might be able to euthanize your dog for free after surrendering him to the Humane Society or a local shelter. Alternatively, check if your vet offers payment plans, or if there’s a local charity.

Insurance might also cover the euthanasia fee, but often not the burial or cremation so make sure to check upfront.

Naturally, insurance is only helpful if you have an active plan.

In that case, they perhaps paid the pet’s medical bills up until now.

However, if money is tight, chances are there’s no pet insurance at play.

Depending on your financial situation, discussing options with your vet is always worth a shot.

While your vet may not be able to do it completely for free, they can have generous discounts or payment plans.

Veterinarian in white coat rubs a black Labrador's belly on a table.
Photo by Sergey Nivens on Shutterstock

Euthanising at your local vet with a payment plan is probably the best solution if you want to have some control and be in the room in your pet’s final moments.

Dog owners who are strapped for cash might qualify for charity funds if they’re a resident in that area and can provide proof of low income.

The Human Society or your local shelter may euthanize your dog for free if you surrender your pet to them.

However, with this option, your pet’s passing is not in your hands anymore and it may be possible that you can’t be present during the process and you also don’t get the ashes back.

More affordable options across the US are listed below.

Low-Cost Dog Euthanasia (by US state)

Low-cost dog euthanasia is usually offered by Humane Societies and local shelters which may discount even further if you’re local or have a low income.

Euthanasia alone costs $35-$75 for smaller dogs, whereas the cost for euthanasia for larger dogs ranges from $40-$130.

Generally, the larger your dog is the more it will cost, especially if you’d also like communal cremation or even a private cremation (i.e. you get the ashes back).

Owners of large dogs may be better off seeking out a Humane Society with flat fees, whereas small dogs usually pay a premium with flat fees since their euthanization can be cheaper elsewhere.

Euthanasia plus cremation for small dogs costs $60-$100. For large dogs, the cost is $110-$240.

Again, please make sure euthanasia is the only option due to a medical issue that can’t be solved.

Never accept shady practices with non-approved sedatives or solutions to avoid your dog suffering during euthanasia.

US StateEuthanasia onlyEuthanasia & CremationEuthanasia & Private Cremation
AHS Minnesota$85$110$170
SPCA, Pennsylvania/$75-$105$145-$275 (incl. urn)
BHS, California$40-$70$95-$125$145-$320 (incl. box)
PSAS, California$40$80-$140$190-$240
HS Southern Arizona$65$130$190
HS Broward, Florida$75/$190-$340
HS Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (inactive)$35-$70$100-$235$135-$300
HS Beaver, Pennsylvania$40-$100//
HS SV, California$130$175-$240$295-$430
HS Marin, California$75$175$225-$450 (incl. box)
HS San Diego, California$50//
HS Pikes Peak, Colorado/$85$160
HS Delaware, Ohio/$45-$95$60-$175 (incl. tin box)
HS Knox, Ohio$45$60$80-$220
HS, Kansas$60//
HS Spokane, Washington$45$95-$165$175-$325
HS Kitsap, Washington$35-$125$75-$325$130-$445
HS, Hawaii$100$125-$150$300-$400
HS Lynchburg, Virginia//$125
HS NW, Michigan $40-$80$95-$380$140-$420
HS NT, Texas$50//
HS Capital, Nebraska$40$95-$115$125-$195 (incl. bag)
HS, Western Montana$60-$75$85-$175$125-$245
HS, Idaho/$100-$130/
Low-cost euthanasia in various US States (pricing from 2022)

I do not personally endorse or recommend any of these organizations (and don’t view them negatively either).

Please be aware that these prices are just examples of what they cost right now.

As you can see, some shelters or humane societies only offer euthanasia while others are only available coupled with a communal or private cremation.

Again, I’d suggest only using this option as a last resort. Talking to your vet about a free euthanization should be your first address.

Dog owners who’ve been to the same vet for years and are local residents have the highest chance of the vet waiving their fee.

Whatever you do, make sure to put your dog’s comfort first, should you manage to find a free euthanasia service.

If not, payment plans, surrendering your pet, or even small loans (perhaps from friends and family) are available to make your dog’s passing as pain-free as possible.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.

Judy Colasanti

Wednesday 26th of April 2023

I need help to find a place to put my dog down but I don't have that much money I can't see him suffer he is going to b 16 may 14 but he is not going to make it he is my life I am having a hard time I need help please


Wednesday 26th of April 2023

Hi Judy, please consult with your local vet and talk about a payment plan or other options. They should be able to help you if you explain your situation and ensure a pain-free and safe passing, assuming that a vet determines euthanasia is the only option.

Leatha Gordon

Monday 6th of March 2023

My Shih Tzu is 18 years old he’s blind and deaf running into things barely can move his back two legs he drag them.


Tuesday 7th of March 2023

Please talk to your vet, they should be happy to discuss the best possible course of action for your Shih Tzu. Every individual is different and while unnecessary suffering can be avoided, a vet needs to make sure that euthanasia would be the best choice.

nita Garris

Sunday 5th of February 2023

I'm interested in the procedure but need the low cost package. I live in Brooklyn and I have a 8lb miniature Doberman.


Sunday 5th of February 2023

Hi, as mentioned in the post it's worth considering local Humane Societies, shelters, charities, or a payment plan with your vet if they're willing. Please make sure a vet determines that euthanasia is required and that there is no treatment at all that could potentially save your pet.


Saturday 5th of November 2022

Hi. My dog is in pain suffering from bleeding skin and achy joints we are needing to Euthanize her soon due to athritis as well. I’m on disability don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend. What do you charge. She’s 20 lbs. thanks


Saturday 5th of November 2022

Hello Patricia, I am not a veterinarian. I cannot diagnose your pet or offer advice on whether or not euthanasia is suitable.

If your dog is suffering from bleeding skin and joint issues, please bring her to the vet. Euthanasia may not be the right choice. Most vets are able to accept a payment plan or other options. It's our responsibility to care for our pets and unless your vet has determined that quality of life is too low, euthanasia may not be the right option. Treatment may be necessary instead. And if your vet decides euthanasia is the way to go, you can contact your local shelters, humane societies, etc. as laid out in the post or ask your vet about options.


Friday 17th of June 2022

You said personally you would not choose any of the above businesses. Where then do you recommend? I’m at the hard place of thinking about needing to put my senior Maltese down. I’m looking at how to do it for him with grace and dignity and not spend a lot of $ cause I’m a senior on a limited income. This is a very tough decision and I’m still at a loss of what to do for him!


Saturday 18th of June 2022

Hi Kathy, sorry but you got that wrong. "I don't personally recommend" means I have not dealt with any of those personally so I can't say whether or not they're good. I'm just not endorsing any of them directly, but not discouraging people to contact them either.

That being said, I would not opt for these as I'm not qualified for these programs and would probably choose my regular vet for at-home euthanasia but of course, that costs a lot.

If I was in a place where I need them, these services are great choices. Just beware that some shelters/organizations require you to give your dog up which isn't necessarily a good option. Also, make sure they use approved meds. Other than that, you're free to get quotes from as many as you'd like and check where you're the most comfortable.

Ask your regular vet if they can do something for you or inquire about local programs. Other than that, Humane Societies might be your way to go. Of course, only after a vet is certain that nothing can be done for your Maltese.